Welcome to the Weekend, RazzFam and RazzFriends! Last week, in Razzball Ambulance Chasers: Picking Up Where We Left Off With Harper, Albies, Tatis, and Others, I reminisced about the old days of early 2022. Luis Robert’s star was bright. Bryce Harper’s arms were almost as strong as his dad’s, and the Mike Trout discussion was…well…it […]Please, blog, may I have some more?
Please see our player page for Forrest Whitley to see projections for today, the next 7 days and rest of season as well as stats and gamelogs designed with the fantasy baseball player in mind.
Houston prospects tend to get a little extra bump up the lists from me. My first year doing these, some readers on Reddit came at me for having Jeremy Peña too high (fifth) on the list. I might never forget it: my first time getting cooked in the comments. I wasn’t familiar with the ways of Reddit yet, and to be fair to the Redditors, I wasn’t particularly adept at writing these blurbs to reflect my reasoning yet either. The other comment-cooking that comes to mind was Houston related as well. I had ranked Alex Bregman 9th among third basemen for dynasty leagues coming off his 41 home run season. I think Astros fans were especially salty because this happened during those early pandemic days when the trash-can hate was still fresh, and there was no baseball on the field to distract us or force them to pay the full-stadium consequences for their fuckery.
Sorry for the jaunt down memory lane. It’s just, both of these memories wound up being foundational for me as a baseball writer. Something might look wrong to most readers today, but that doesn’t mean you should hesitate to say it. This gig requires a fair amount of future-casting, and that requires a fair amount of confidence on top of the competence. Mostly I just want to say thanks to all of you who’ve read my work between there and here. Thanks to all of you who chat it up in the comments. And thanks to the Houston Astros for developing good baseball players. The automatic bump to a Houston prospect has been useful since Yordan Alvarez was left off the Top 100 lists heading into his rookie year. It’s helped us to roster Luis Garcia, Jose Urquidy, Cristian Javier and Jeremy Pena among others. Decent chance a couple people from this group vastly exceed their present perceived value in a similar fashion.
Format: Position Player | Age on 4/1/23 | Highest Level Played | ETA
1. RHP Hunter Brown | 23 | MLB | 2022
Can Jose Urquidy hold this freight train off for the fifth starter spot? Hunter Brown is the most chamber-approved pitching prospect Houston’s had since Forrest Whitley. At 6’2” 212 lbs, Brown maintains impeccable balance throughout his delivery thanks to elite posture and strong legs. His ability to repeat has improved year over year to the point that his control is finally trending toward command. Hitting spots is still not his long suit, but Brown’s stuff is so dynamic, he’ll never have to be especially fine to retire big league hitters. In 20.1 MLB inning in 2022, he posted a 1.08 WHIP after recording a 1.08 across 106 Triple-A innings. The Houston development plan of piggy-backing mixed with starting all the way up prepares these guys for the life they’ll face as an Astro, waiting sometimes multiple seasons to truly crack the rotation. Whether or not Brown can buck that trend will come down to health across the roster, the club’s commitment to Jose Urquidy, and how Brown handles the back-and-forth role in which he’ll likely open the season.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Woe be to ye who love pitching prospects in dynasty baseball. Seriously. No fun to learn the hard way how tricky it is to trade a big-named pitching prospect in a strong dynasty or keeper league. Even tricker to graduate them as mainstays of a winning staff.
I already discussed a fair bit of this in the Top 25 Starting Pitcher Prospects for Dynasty Fantasy Baseball in 2022. Hitters fail, too, but they can typically be traded earlier and later than pitchers in their minor league career arc. Pitchers can be traded the week or month they get called up and then again if they’ve been really good as rookies. If you’re lucky enough to land an Alek Manoah type, you probably don’t want to trade him anyway. The Daniel Lynch types can still be moved for pennies on the dollar, but they’ve have lost at least half the perceived value they had as top 25 prospects, which, again, isn’t much in a real strong dynasty league where everyone has been burned by enough pitchers to recount the scars.
I really should be more positive in this intro, but honestly a lot of this group is made up of players I’d trade away in a heartbeat yin my leagues. Let’s look ’em over.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Nobody beats the book like Houston. Their prospect lists require close-reading and separate buckets of research because you don’t want to miss Jose Urquidy or Luis Garcia if you don’t have to. Jake Meyers and Chas McCormick both popped from relative obscurity onto fantasy baseball rosters in 2021, and that looks like the way it’s going to go with Astros’ prospects. I don’t know what it is that keeps their guys underrated in general. I guess losing the picks to the cheating scandal didn’t help, nor did the cheating scandal (though it would be pretty hard to argue that it didn’t HELP help in a macro sense). Doesn’t matter for our purposes. The Astros have proven they can teach hitting with buzzers or without. Although they’re not highly ranked around the chamber, and spots are at a premium on the big league roster right now, this list has some of my favorite sleepers for near-term fantasy value, especially at the top.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Austin Nola was diagnosed with a fractured middle finger. The worst injury that’s ever befallen a truck driver. That’s how they speak! Honestly, it’s how I speak on the road too. Cut in front of me and I go from “One to road rage” in a half city block. Then again, I cut people off all the time too. Just a generally terrible driver, I am! My favorite is when I cut someone off, then can sense them giving me the evil eye or middle finger, and don’t give them the satisfaction of looking over. Stew on that! So, Austin Nola will undergo a couple of days of treatment before they announce a timetable. I’ve still adjusted him a bit in my top 20 catchers, and that could change further. In the mean’s time, you know who this is good for? *saddles up to the bar* “Give me a martini with two carrot sticks.” That’s right, Yu’s personal catcher, could be yours. Victor Caratini will move into the everyday catcher job and this could mean time for Luis Campusano, who is cut from the same white-linen tablecloth as the $54 Vending Machine Steak, Franmil Reyes. In addition to my updated catcher rankings, I’ve also updated the top 500 for 2021 fantasy baseball. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for 2021 fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Howdy, Razzballers. Hope all is well in your neck of the woods!
Don’t see much reason for an intro at this point. You’re here for injury/COVID updates, so here yinz go, in no particular order whatsoever:Please, blog, may I have some more?
2020 turned out okay for the Astros, all things considered.
This week’s ball-doctoring story that mentioned Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander might have otherwise grabbed some eyeballs but wound up buried beneath the seesawing fate of America’s democracy.
All in all, the trash-bang scandal of 2019 got lost in much bigger conversations, so the traveling circus that would’ve been Houston’s 2020 playing on the road in front of fans that hated them never got out of the garage. Despite season-ending injuries to Justin Verlander and Yordan Alvarez and mostly silent bats from Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve and Yuli Gurriel (curious), the Astros remained a force to be reckoned with when it mattered most, striking fear in the hearts of baseball fans everywhere when they pushed the Rays to game 7 of the ALCS.
2021 will be even more challenging. Though Yordan Alvarez is running again after surgeries on both knees, Houston will likely be without free agent outfielders George Springer and Michael Brantley. The system offers some possible help on the mound, but the bulk of their position prospects are too young to contribute anytime soon.Please, blog, may I have some more?
On Saturday, Isan Diaz opted out of the season. Someone doesn’t want to sneak out to the strip club anymore. Then, on Sunday, the Marlins said they would bring up Monte Harrison and summon a bunch of journeymen to Baltimore for their next series, starting on Tuesday. I don’t care if they have one player, as long as that player’s Monte Harrison. Outside of Harrison, it sounds like their lineup might be filled with Matt Joyce, Jorge Cantu and Dan Uggla. “Bah gawd…it’s Ricky Nolasco’s music!” Last year, Harrison went 9/20/.274 in 56 Triple-A games. *does the robot as I head to my waiver wires to pick up Monte Harrison in every league* Robot voice, “Don’t…mind…if…I…” Damn, I was messing around, and someone got him before me. Stupid slow robot! So, grab Monte Harrison in every league for some power and great speed, though he might hit .210. I’d wait and see on Jorge Cantu. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Well these have certainly been an interesting few days. Sunday, I hit the brakes on my 40-man scuba dive because I wanted to dance among the raindrops of roster decisions and come back soaked in fantasy baseball goodness.
Making a team’s 40-man roster has always granted players an edge in getting a promotion. Every season when we’re waiting for our favorite prospects to get the call, we watch a parade of misfit toys already on the 40 get that chance first. Especially in some organizations that don’t like to toggle the 40-man. In the variation of baseball we’ll get this year, this under-contract advantage seems greater than ever.
If you’re in a deep league, making semi-regular rounds dissecting 40-man rosters can give you a predictive edge. If you’re in any league, really, how can it hurt to know who’s likely to get called up next at a given position on a given team, no matter how anyone’s hitting or pitching?
Can’t hurt, right? 2020 will be all about maximizing short-term opportunities, so let’s hop in the pool and swim a lap around the American League West.
Note: everyone mentioned in this article is included in the 60-man player pool.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Yesterday most teams announced their 60-man rosters for Summer Camp. You know Summer Camp, it’s when MLB players compete against each other in kayak and potato sack races, learn to respect other kids, even ones with nerdy glasses, and are managed by Bill Murray. Oh, and, yeah, all teams were supposed to release their 60-man rosters, but when you make a rule that in extra innings a runner will start on 2nd base, then rules are officially stupid and should not be followed. Rob Manfred speaking into a phone, “Brewers, we need your 60-man roster.” Brewers, “It’s in your ass, Rob.” Rob, “I’m looking in a mirror and I do not see it.” One other thing about the 60-man rosters that were released: they were all a few short of 60. 60-man rosters are a lot like Opening Day, a wait-and-see affair. Guys can be added still in the coming days. So, maybe there’s hope still for Ryan Mountcastle and Adley Rutschman, since they were omitted from the Orioles’ released 44-man roster. It would be surprising if they weren’t included in the coming days, if this weren’t the Orioles. Some teams included their 2020 draft picks. The Orioles have yet to include their 1st pick from 2015 (Mountcastle) and their 1st pick from last year. i.e., Grey’s about to lose his crap and only talk in 3rd person. Anyway, here’s what else I saw 2020 fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
A wise man once said, “He who says he can and he who says he can’t are usually both right.” That was Confucius, who also once remarked to a bright young pupil on a particularly overcast day in 531 BC that “He who places his livelihood in the hands of starting pitching health is indeed the king of fools among us all.” I can assure you he said both of those things, and I can assure you that I will do my best to heed his insightful words as I reveal the pitchers on my 2023 All-COVID Team.
Like I said, Confucius was a wise man. He would have never dared use ESPN’s rankings to set up his fantasy baseball draft board. No, he would likely make his way to a site like Razzball, where he would study my 2023 All-COVID Team with great satisfaction before stumbling across this post. At this point, we would likely faint out of mere displeasure.
Projecting the top pitchers in fantasy three years from now is an asinine task in nature. Experts such as Grey who are able to nail preseason fantasy pitching rankings year-by-year have achieved quite a feat as is. To venture further into the unknown is, quite frankly, setting oneself up for failure. But, to heed my good friend Confucius’ words, I will be “he who says he can,” and I shall be right.Please, blog, may I have some more?
With these top 100 starters for 2020 fantasy baseball, I’ve finished our (my) 2020 fantasy baseball rankings for positions. Still coming will be a top 100 overall and top 500 to see how all the positions mesh together like your mesh Redskins jersey that meshes with your burgundy sweatpants. Trust me, when you see how long this post is, you’ll be glad I kept this intro short. All the 2020 fantasy baseball rankings are there. Here’s Steamer’s 2020 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Hitters and 2020 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Pitchers. Here’s all the 2020 fantasy baseball auction rankings. As always, my projections are included, and where I see tiers starting and stopping. If you want an explanation of tiers, go back to the top 10 overall and start this shizz all over again. Anyway, here’s the top 100 starters for 2020 fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?